- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 10 hours and 38 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Recorded Books
- Audible.com Release Date: October 31, 2008
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B001K56OX6
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Gotcha Capitalism: How Hidden Fees Rip You Off Every Day-and What You Can Do About It Audible – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
Technology today gives us automatic teller machines, internet, wireless phones, cell phones, satellite and cable television, electronic bill payments, etc. etc. These gadgets and services are marketed as life simplifiers, and in many ways they are. But there are also hidden costs to using them that gouge the consumer. Sullivan's claim is that unless these hidden costs are recognized, consumers are prey rather than free agents. Hence the "gotcha."
ATM fees, for example, are almost never fully disclosed on the ATM screen. They average about $5 per pop--that is, you pay a good chunk of money to access your money. How bizarre is that? But bizarre as it is from the consumer's perspective, it's good business for the banks because service fees are major revenue sources for banks. These days, according to Sullivan, about one-third of all bank revenues come from fees. In fact, many banks now make more income from fees--checking account fees, bounced check fees, ATM fees, and so on--than from interest on loans and investments.
Or take credit cards. A credit card company can legally raise your interest rates simply by sending you a finely printed and obscurely written announcement informing you of the increase and stating that unless you formally object in writing, you accept it. The companies know that most consumers won't even bother to read the announcement before tossing it. In fact, they bank on it.
Or take hotels.Read more ›
Sullivan explains and documents with great clarity how companies have scientifically researched the most effective methods for hiding bogus fees, and what the tipping point are, so that they steal tiny amounts from millions of customers, but in ways that these customers either won't detect, or understand. And it doesn't matter if you catch one company ripping you off: they all do it, so there's really nowhere for consumers to turn. Don't like your cell phone company? Of course not, but is it worth it to drop them and go to another? Probably not, since they're all total crooks.
While this book does a great job cataloging these injustices, it leaves open the question of what we can actually do about it. The book promises readers that they can save $1000.00 if they know how to guard against various unfair business practices. What is really needed, however, is legal protection against these fraudulent and deceptive practices.Read more ›
The information is very practical and useful in everyday situations.
"Big deal," say some - "what's few dollars here and there?' Sullivan's independent researcher surveyed people and concluded the average was $964/year; "Consumer Reports" reported $4,000/family. So, it pays to pay attention to those asterisks, fine print, innocuous letters intended to obtain approval of contract changes w/o even reading, arcane/complex wording, and the signature line. (Sullivan reports an instance where buyers' unknowingly were also purchasing monthly credit insurance, failed to pay it, and racked up large late fees in addition.)
"Gotcha Capitalism" is also a good reference to wave at those contending "free markets cure everything."
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Glad to hear someone finally bringing some of the dastardly corporate swindlers into the light. Lots of useful info. The reason I bought the book was based on info. Read morePublished 16 months ago by mark w.
Seriously, high school and college aged kids need to know this before venturing out into the world. If you wonder why you have the feeling your life is being nickel and dimed (and... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Dean Hubbard
Great book. Should be required reading in every high school in America. Of course the powers that be would not be too happy about that. Read morePublished 22 months ago by newportmb74
Love the concept, but the book just re-hashes the same idea over and over. I heard the author and loved the label on this behavior, but the book format seems too long to... Read morePublished on November 13, 2013 by Matthew R. Mayfield